State legislators and swimming enthusiasts are pushing back against a ban on open water swimming at Walden Pond, announced Friday as part of a statewide water safety campaign.

In the wake of a series of recent drownings, Gov. Charlie Baker announced legislation to increase fines for swimming in areas designated as off limits by the state. Heading into the holiday weekend, the Department of Conservation and Recreation on Friday issued a statement saying open water swimming is now banned at Walden Pond, and swimmers must stay within a roped-in area.

But open water swimmers in the state say that has nothing to do with safety, and could actually make swimming more dangerous because distance swimmers will have to go to the ocean or other, more crowded lakes.

“I think a ban is just — it’s so far reaching and a knee-jerk reaction, and it doesn’t help anything,” said Rena Demeo, an open water swimmer from Nahant. Open water swimmers are generally well-trained and are not a major drowning risk, she said. And limiting water access to a roped-in area is no safety guarantee, either.

“You can fall in your bathtub and drown,” she said. “You’re not going to eliminate drownings just because you make it a smaller box.”

A DCR spokesperson said Monday that the change was intended to standardize rules at all waterbodies during an overall safety review.

In 2014, the state engaged in a public dialogue with swimmers about open water rules at Walden Pond, including a series of safety guidelines and restrictions on swimming near boats.

But the open water ban issued Friday came with no prior notice or discussion, said Elaine Howley, vice president of the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association.

“They just issued this statement and there had been no outreach to anybody who uses the pond for swimming,” Howley said. “We weren’t involved in any conversations about what should happen and how we could continue to access the water. ... This was just a unilateral move on their part of, just, ‘Shut it down.’”

State Sen. Jason Lewis — who is also an open water swimmer — said he and State. Sen. Michael Barrett are gathering legislators’ signatures on a letter to the DCR, which asks that the swimming ban be lifted and other safety measures be issued instead, such as a requirement that swimmers wear colorful buoys that make them easier to see.

Walden Pond “has been one of the most cherished open water locations for Massachusetts swimmers for decades,” Lewis said. He suspects dozens of House and Senate lawmakers will sign the letter, and he hopes to send it to state officials by the end of the day Tuesday.

Officials at the Walden Pond State Reservation did not reply to requests for comment.